United States (Federal)

US-4b:Better Buildings, Better Plants

Policy Description

The Better Buildings, Better Plants Program is a national partnership initiative that invites industrial companies to take a corporate-wide voluntary Pledge to reduce the energy intensity of their industrial operations by 25% or more in 10 years. By taking the Pledge, companies are recognized as Better Plants Program Partners and, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, will work to improve energy management and identify the most cost-effective options for energy and carbon savings.

Description

In 2011, the Save Energy Now program was replaced by the Better Buildings, Better Plants program. Key program elements of the Save Energy Now program remained unchanged, including the 10 year 25% energy-intensity improvement target. Save Energy Now Leader companies transitioned to the Better Buildings, Better Plants Program, although they could opt-out if desired.

The industrial component of the Better Buildings, Better Plants program provides opportunities for national recognition based on level of commitment:

  • Better Buildings, Better Plants Program Partners pledge energy savings goals consistent with national targets and agree to report progress annually to DOE. Program requirements largely match those of the Save Energy Now LEADER initiative (US-2a).
  • Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge Partners agree to transparently pursue innovative approaches to energy efficiency, and make a significant, near-term investment in an energy saving project or set of projects [1].

The actions to become Program Partners and Challenge Partners are shown in the illustration below:

Source: DOE 2011 [2]

In his 2013 Climate Action Plan, President Obama announced efficiency standards for federal buildings and appliances that cumulatively can reduce carbon pollution by 3 billion metric tons by 2030.

Policy Information Expand this section for information on the key features of the policy, such as its date of introduction, categorization, main objective(s) and linkages with other policies.

Policy Categorisation

Policy Instrument Type: Administrative, Voluntary Agreement, Information & Outreach

Position in the Pyramid

About Us

Participation: Voluntary

Period

Start Date: 2011

Policy Linkages

Replaces Save Energy Now LEADER (replaced by US-4b Better Buildings, Better Plants Program) Effort Defining
Complements Energy Star for Industry Program Effort Defining
Supported By Superior Energy Performance Effort Defining

Agencies Responsible

Department of Energy
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Environmental Protection Agency

Primary Objective: Energy

Objective

The objectives are to achieve quantified energy savings over a ten-year period, transparently pursue innovative approaches to energy efficiency, and make a significant, near-term investment in an energy saving project or set of projects.

Target Group

Buildings and industrial plants Any company in the U.S. manufacturing sector can become a Program Partner, regardless of size or level of energy management expertise. Participants also include owners of commercial buildings, such as commercial businesses, industrial corporations, universities, States, and other building owners that make a public commitment to reduce energy consumption in their facilities

Driver of energy consumption or emissions affected by policy: Total energy consumption, energy management, emerging technology deployment.

Implementation Information Expand this section for information on targets, monitoring, verification and enforcement regimes, and implementation requirements and tools.

Coverage

Buildings and industrial facilities by voluntary participation.

Quantitative Target? yes

Time Period: 2-5 years or retain 10-year goal under the Save Energy Now program

Progress Monitored? yes

Verification Required? yes

Enforced? no

Requirements on the Target Group

 

Key requirements of Better Plants Program Partners are summarised below:

  • Sign a voluntary pledge to reduce energy intensity by 25% over ten years corporate wide
  • Develop an energy use baseline and track the change in energy intensity
  • Designate a corporate energy manager and have an up-to-date energy management plan for internal use within one year
  • Report energy data, number of plants involved, and progress each year.

For higher-level commitment, Better Buildings Challenge Partners are required to complete the following:

  • Announce an energy efficiency goal that includes reducing energy intensity by at least 2.5% annually
  • Announce an energy efficiency market innovation, which may include an energy savings capital set aside program, scalable approaches to Superior Energy Performance certification, supply chain engagement, emerging technology deployment, or other innovative solutions to persistent energy efficiency barriers
  • Conduct a near-term showcase project, which is defined as a significant energy savings project or set of projects at a single facility
  • Report and make public on an annual basis corporate-wide energy use, energy improvement, and energy efficiency investment data
  • Report and make public on a quarterly basis data on showcase projects and market innovations

See http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/tech_deployment/betterplants/faqs.html#req1 [3].

Support by Government

DOE gives several forms of recognition for different actions taken by participants (see Table below) as well as new tools (see "Implementation Toolbox").

For Program Partner participants who sign up to the Better Buildings, Better Plants Program:

Company Milestone DOE recognition
Joining program Letter signed by Program Manager of the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), basic online profile on AMO website
Achieving > 2.5% energy intensity improvement in a single year Letter signed by AMO Program Manager, press release
Achieving 10-year, 25% target Letter and Plaque signed by DOE Secretary, press release

 

For participants who sign up to the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge, in addition:

Company Milestone DOE recognition
Taking the challenge Letter from DOE Secretary to CEO, detailed online profile on website, participation in Challenge Launch; press release
Annoncing market innovations and showcase projects Exposure through web profile, DOE-initiated media outreach
Quarterly and annual achievements Leadership press releases
Successfully completing market innovations and showcase projects DOE-initiated media outreach; web profile; DOE press releases
Achieving goals Public event, DOE-initiated media outreach, letter from DOE Secretary

Source: DOE, 2011 [4].

 

 

Technical Support is also available. Program Partners can:

  • Access a technical account manager
    • Receive help in establishing and analyzing key energy use data and metrics for the development of baselines and energy management plans
    • Obtain support in identifying emerging, energy-efficient technologies applicable to plant operations
    • Apply for in-plant trainings on how to identify, prioritize, implement, and replicate energy saving projects.
  • Participate in training on financing options, advanced technology, energy analysis software, energy management, and other topics
  • Use proven energy analysis software tools and other technical resources from DOE, states, utilities and other partner organizations (See Implementation Toolbox) [5].

 

 

Implementation Toolbox

Guide for Better Buildings, Better Plants Program Partners. See http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/pdfs/betterplants_guide.pdf

The tool suite for implementation of the Better Buildings, Better Plants program is available on the website [6]. The tool suite includes:

  • Energy Management Toolkit. This is a "Self-Paced Module" based on the standard for Energy Management Systems ISO 50001
  • Portfolio Tool that provides users a central location for viewing, comparing and prioritizing energy saving opportunities and projects
  • A new Supply Chain Energy Management tool that industry partners can distribute to suppliers and provides links to additional templates, worksheets, and guidance to help companies work through the steps
  • The Plant Energy Profiler - a preliminary energy assessment available at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/industry/quickpep_ml 
  • Updated system assessment tools:
    • MotorMaster+ for motor systems management
    • AirMaster+ for compressed air
    • Steam System Assessment Tool (SSAT)
    • Process Heating Assessment Tool (PHAST)
  • New small tools (e.g. fans VSD calculator, pumps VSD calculator, air leak loss calculator)
  • Training related to the above tools at different levels.

See http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/tech_deployment/technical_publications.html

 

Impacts, Costs & Benefits Expand this section to find information on policy effectiveness and efficiency.

Impact Quantitative Estimate Qualitative Estimate
Estimated effect on energy consumption or emissions Not yet available. Not yet available.
Estimated costs/benefits for industry Not yet available. Not yet available.
Estimated cost for government Not yet available. Not yet available.

References & Footnotes

References

[1] US DOE (2011). Better Tools for Better Plants. Advanced Manufacturing Office Webcast, November 15, 0211. Retrieved 16 November, 2011 from http://www1.eere.energy.gov/industry/pdfs/webcast_20111115_better_tools_better_plants.pdf

[2] US DOE (2011). Better Tools for Better Plants. Advanced Manufacturing Office Webcast, November 15, 0211. Retrieved 16 November, 2011 from http://www1.eere.energy.gov/industry/pdfs/webcast_20111115_better_tools_better_plants.pdf

[3] U.S. Department of Energy (2012). Better Plants Website. Retrieved from: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/tech_deployment/betterplants/index.html

[4] US DOE (2011). Better Tools for Better Plants. Advanced Manufacturing Office Webcast, November 15, 0211. Retrieved 16 November, 2011 from http://www1.eere.energy.gov/industry/pdfs/webcast_20111115_better_tools_better_plants.pdf

[5] U.S. Department of Energy (2012). Better Plants Website. Retrieved from: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/tech_deployment/betterplants/index.html

[6] U.S. Department of Energy (2012). Energy Resource Center. Retrieved from: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/tech_deployment/ecenter.html

[7] White House (2013). President Obama’s Climate Action Plan 2013. Available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/06/25/fact-sheet-president-obama-s-climate-action-plan

Other Useful Resources

Better Tools for Better Plants.

US DOE's Advanced Manufacturing Office Webcast, November 15, 2011.

DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office - Industrial Technical Assistance (PDF | 0.36mb)

US Department of Energy, 2013. A fact-sheet on how the deployment of energy efficient manufacturing technologies and practices, including strategic energy management and combined heat and power, across American industry is supported through training programs, site assessments, and standards development.